MSU Opens Road Swing At Minnesota on Sunday
The Spartans will play on the Big Ten Network for the first time this season.
|Michigan State (12-4, 2-1 B1G) at Minnesota (12-4, 1-2 B1G)|
|Date||Sunday, Jan. 7|
|Time||4 p.m. ET|
|Location||Minneapolis, Minn. | Williams Arena|
|Tickets||Click To Purchase|
|Radio||Spartan Sports Network | WJIM-AM 1240|
|Game Notes||Michigan State | Minnesota|
|Statistics||Michigan State | Minnesota|
|Internet Coverage||Live Stats|
|Social Media||@MSU_WBasketball | Facebook | Instagram|
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State hits the road for a tough stretch of three-straight games away from East Lansing. The Spartans open up the road swing at Minnesota on Sunday, Jan. 7 at 4 p.m. ET. The game is MSU's first broadcast on the Big Ten Network this season with Lisa Byington and Vera Jones on the call. The Spartans enter the battle with the Golden Gophers with a 12-4 record, including going 2-1 in B1G action. Minnesota is also 12-4 and stands 1-2 in league play.
• Redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee posted her second-straight double-double with 12 points and a game-best 10 rebounds against Northwester on Jan. 3. It was Agee's second double-double of the season and seventh of her career. She also logged a double-double in consecutive games for the first time of her career.
• Freshman forward Sidney Cooks is third on the team in scoring, averaging 10.3 point per game during her freshman campaign. She has started 13 of MSU's 16 games this season and has scored in double figures seven times. Cooks is fifth in scoring (10.3 ppg) and rebounding (5.3 rpg) in the Big Ten among freshman. She is fourth in 3-pointers made with 1.2 per game.
• Michigan State is ninth in the nation in assists with 296 and 16th in assists per game, averaging 18.5. MSU is also 22nd in the nation in rebounds per game (44.1) and 11th in rebound margin (+11.1). This week, Taryn McCutcheon is 42nd in the nation in assists per game (5.4 apg).
• The Spartans' 30-point victory against Northwestern was its largest Big Ten victory since a 31-point winning margin also against Northwestern on March 4, 2011, with a 56-25 MSU win.
GETTING IN THE LINEUP
MSU's starting line-up of sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon, redshirt-sophomore guard Shay Colley, redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee, freshman forward Sidney Cooks and junior forward Jenna Allen is now 2-0, as the Spartans have had six different combinations so far this season. The lineup of Colley, McCutcheon, Lexi Gussert, Mardrekia Cook and Jenna Allen is 5-0. McCutcheon is the only Spartan to have started all 16 games.
Agee has the most career starts in the Green and White with 70 career starts. McCutcheon has started every game during her two-year Spartan career with 49 starts.
LENDING A HELPING HAND
Sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon is approaching the top 20 in career assists after only 49 games in the Spartan uniform. McCutcheon has 255 career assists for an average of 5.4 assists per game. She needs just 12 assists to tie Jasmine Thomas (2009-13) for 20th on the all-time MSU career list with 267 assists.
GETTING OVER 40
Rebounding has been the key to the Spartans' success. MSU is 9-1 when getting over 41 boards in a game. Michigan State has had over 56 rebounds three times this season against Oakland, College of Charleston and Detroit Mercy. Overall the Spartans are 11-1 when out-rebounding its opponents.
MORE KEYS TO THE GAME
Another magic number for the Spartans is getting the bench involved. Michigan State is 10-3 when its bench out-scores its opponents. MSU is also 10-3 with getting at least 16 helpers in a game, including going 7-0 with more than 20 assists in a game.
RISING THE CHARTS
Junior center Jenna Allen has increased her scoring every season that she has been at Michigan State. This season, she is tied for first in scoring, averaging 11.0 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. As a freshman, Allen scored 4.5 points in 34 games as a rookie. During her sophomore campaign, she averaged 6.9 ppg in an injury-plagued season. Allen has scored in double figures eight times in 16 games this season.
SCOUTING THE GOLDEN GOPHERS
Minnesota enters the game with a 12-4 overall record and are 1-2 in the Big Ten record. After opening league play with a road win at Northwestern on Dec. 28, the Gophers have dropped back-to-back league contests against Nebraska (79-74) and at Ohio State (91-75). The Spartans and the Gophers had one common non-conference opponent with both teams defeating Rhode Island. Minnesota's other two losses came at North Carolina on Nov. 29 and at San Diego on Dec. 10.
Kenisha Bell has been having an outstanding season for Minnesota. She is fifth in the league and first on the team in scoring with 20.9 points per game. Bell is also first in the Big Ten with 6.4 assists per game. The well-rounded Bell is also tied for second in the conference, averaging 2.5 steals per contest.
Overall, four Gophers are averaging in double figures. Carlie Wagner is second on the team in scoring and eighth in the Big Ten in scoring with 17.7 ppg. Wagner is tied for fourth in the B1G in e-pointers made with 2.8 made per game. Gadiva Hubbard and Destiny Pitts are tied for third in scoring with 13.4 ppg.
As a team, the Gophers are third in the Big Ten in scoring offense, scoring 86.1 ppg. They are one of four teams in the conference averaging over 80.0 ppg. Minnesota is fourth in the conference in assists with 17.5 apg, while the Spartans are third with 18.5 apg. In Big Ten only games, Minnesota is fourth in scoring offense with 79.7 ppg.
LAST TIME VS. MINNESOTA
Boosted by a triple-double from Tori Jankoska and a career-high 30 points from Branndais Agee, Michigan State women's basketball pulled away from Minnesota, 85-69, on Feb. 17, 2017 at the Breslin Center.
Before the game, the Spartans honored senior guard Jankoska, who became the first Michigan State women's basketball player to reach the 2,000-point mark against Maryland on Feb. 12. She then went out and tallied the first triple-double in Spartan women's basketball since Kristin Haynie in 2005, recording 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. It is the third triple-double in school history, joining Kim Archer in 1984.
Michigan State leads the all-time series record with Minnesota 42-21. MSU is 22-7 at the Breslin Center, 16-13 on the road, and 3-1 in a neutral location. In the last match-up between the Spartans and Gophers, MSU earned an 85-69 win in Minneapolis. The Spartans defeated the Golden Gophers twice last season and have won the last three meetings. Michigan State has won six of the last seven overall meetings.
BIG TEN OPENERS
Michigan State is 23-13 in home Big Ten openers in 36 years in the league. This season, the Spartans fell to Rutgers on Dec. 31, 61-58.
Michigan State is 18-18 all-time in Big Ten openers, having won its last five of its last seven ... Under Coach Merchant, the Spartans are 7-4 in Big Ten openers ... MSU earned a dominating 68-46 win over Indiana in Bloomington, 68-46 on Dec. 28 ... This was the first time since the 2011-12 season that the Spartans have opened B1G play with the Hoosiers. MSU captured that game in Bloomington, 63-49.
Sophomore forward Nia Hollie returns home to her home state for the second time. Hollie, a native of Minneapolis, attended Hopkins High School. Last season, scored nine points at Williams Arena last season in 19 minutes of action.
CAREER VS. THE GOPHERS
Redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee has played five career games against Minnesota. She has averaged 12.8 points and 4.2 rebounds per games against the Golden Gophers. Last season against Minnesota, Agee had a breakout performance with a career-high 30 points. She drained a career-best six 3-pointers in the 85-69 win. In three outings, junior center Jenna Allen has averaged 7.3 points and 2.3 rebounds per game against the Gophers.
Against East Tennessee State on Dec. 16, Michigan State set a new school record with 15 blocks. The previous record was 13 against Indiana on Dec. 28, 2006. Senior forward Taya Reimer and senior guard Branndais Agee added four blocks each, while freshman forward Sidney Cooks and sophomore forward Victoria Gaines swatted two apiece. Michigan State's previous high this season was seven blocks against Oakland on Nov. 13.
CAREER NIGHT FOR COLLEY
Sophomore guard Shay Colley's career-high 27 points against South Florida topped her previous career-best of 16 points against Robert Morris in the season-opener. It was Colley's second-straight double-figure scoring outing and third in the last four games, along with her fifth of the season.
Colley's 27 points was the second-highest by a Spartan this season, behind junior forward Jenna Allen's 28-point outing at Notre Dame, and also marked the third time this season that an MSU player has scored 20+ points in a game, as along with Allen's 28 points, senior forward Taya Reimer tallied 20 points against Oakland.
REACHING A MILESTONE
Senior forward Taya Reimer reached a milestone, passing the 1,000-career point plateau against UConn on Nov. 25. Between her two seasons at Notre Dame and her two at Michigan State, she now has 1,082 career points. She is currently fifth in scoring for the Spartans, averaging 8.7 points per game.
BOUNCE BACK ABILITY
In Coach Merchant's first 11 seasons, the Spartans are 71-26 (73.2%) following a loss.
TAKING ON THE BEST
In the first nine games of the season, the Spartans have taken on both the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country. MSU has already faced top-ranked UConn and took on No. 2 Notre Dame on Dec. 6. Last season, Michigan State faced both No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 3 Maryland in one season. The Spartans have never faced the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country in the same season.
STINGY AT HOME
Against Rhode Island on Dec. 9, the 18 first-half points were the fewest allowed this season by the Spartans. MSU allowed only 22 points against Robert Morris and 19 against Quinnipiac. The Spartans held the Rams to just 38 points, the lowest allowed for an opponent this season. The three fourth-quarter points were fewest ever in a quarter.
Michigan State has been dominating in the fourth quarter at home, out-scoring its opponents, 143-88 in the final 10 minutes. Overall at home, MSU has scored 662 points, while allowing only 431. Overall MSU is 7-1 at home this season.
AROUND THE BIG TEN
Freshman Sidney Cooks is third on the team in scoring, she also is 10th in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (.545).
Sophomore Taryn McCutcheon is third in assists behind Minnesota's Kenisha Bell and Iowa's Kathleen Doyle, averaging 5.5 apg. She tied a career high with 12 against Notre Dame on Dec. 6 and added 10 assists in overtime against ETSU on Dec. 16. Redshirt-sophomore guard Shay Colley is 16th in assists with 3.7 per game. Colley is also sixth in the B1G in steals, averaging 2.2 spg.
MSU is third in the league assists, averaging 18.4 apg. Iowa is first in the conference in assists with 22.7 apg. Michigan State is also first in rebound margin (+10.8) and third in steals (9.9).
AROUND THE NATION
The Spartans are up to ninth in the nation in assists with 296 and 16th in assists per game, averaging 18.5. Michigan State is also 22nd in the nation in rebounds per game (44.1)and 11th in rebound margin (+11.1). MSU is ranks 13 in the nation in free throws made with 234. This week, Taryn McCutcheon is 42nd in the nation in assists per game (5.4 apg).
Redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee became the 26th MSU women's basketball player to reach 1,000 points with 10 points against No. 1 UConn on Nov. 25. Agee started the week by scoring a season-high 17 points in her hometown against Detroit, bringing her career point total to 991 and going over 1,000 against UConn. She now has 1,090 career points in the Green and White. Agee is averaging 11.0 points through the first 16 games of the season, which is second on the team. Tori Jankoska was the last Spartan to reach 1,000 points doing so on Nov. 27, 2015.
CLOSING IT OUT
The Spartans have been extremely effective closing out games over the last couple years, winning 168 of their last 175 games (.960) when leading with five minutes left, including 119 of their last 127. In Coach Merchant's tenure, Michigan State is 203-12 (.944) when holding a lead with five minutes left. This season, the Spartans are 11-1.
FANS CONTINUE TO PACK THE BRESLIN
Michigan State women's basketball continues to pack the Breslin Center, finishing the 2016-17 season ninth in the nation and first in the Big Ten home attendance. The Spartans averaged 6,011 fans in 14 home games this season. MSU had a total of 84,152 fans pass through the gates. This is the 13th-straight season that the Spartans have been ranked in the top 15 nationally in attendance. MSU has had a total attendance of at least 80,000 since 2005-06.
This season, Michigan State is 14th in attendance, averaging 5,304 fans per game. They are fourth in the Big Ten behind Purdue (5,855), Ohio State (5,500) and Maryland (5,325).
LAST TIME OUT
After outscoring Northwestern, 50-22, in the first half, the Michigan State women's basketball team rolled to a convincing, 81-51, win Wednesday at the Breslin Center.
The Spartans improved to 12-4 overall and 2-1 in Big Ten play. The Wildcats fall to 8-9 overall and 1-2 in league contests.
Michigan State was led by 18 points from redshirt-sophomore guard Shay Colley, who also added six assists and five steals. Redshirt-senior Branndais Agee added her second-straight double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Taryn McCutcheon scored 16 points, while senior guard/forward Lexi Gussert added 14.
AGEE NAMED TO WATCH LIST
Michigan State redshirt-senior Branndais Agee was named to the watch list for the inaugural Cheryl Miller Award, which will be awarded to the top small forward women's basketball; it was announced by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women's Basketball Coaches Association.
She is one of five players from the Big Ten to be named to the watch list along with Indiana's Amanda Cahill, Maryland's Brianna Fraser, Ohio State's Stephanie Mavunga and Wisconsin's Cayla McMorris. Agee has already garnered preseason All-Big Ten honors by the coaches. Last season, Agee earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors along with fellow senior Taya Reimer and sophomore Taryn McCutcheon.
IN THE MONTH OF DECEMBER
The Spartans improved to 175-97 (.643) all-time in the month of December. Under Coach Merchant, Michigan State is 58-27 (.682) in the 12th month of the calendar year. The Spartans have won 30 of their last 44 games in December.
The Michigan State Athletics Department officially opened the Gilbert Pavilion and the Tom Izzo Hall of History on Friday afternoon in a ceremony at the Breslin Center.
The addition features the Tom Izzo Hall of History features a locker room and interactive areas that enhance the fan experience for the more than 500,000 people attending events each year.
The Spartans welcome to their staff three former Michigan State players. Former Big Ten Player of the Year Kalisha Keane and All-Big Ten honorees Jasmine Hines and Annalise Pickrel are all graduate assistants with the Spartans this season.
MSU begins a tough three-game road swing at Minnesota on Sunday, Jan. 7 on the Big Ten Network. The Spartans will then take on No. 13 Maryland on Jan. 11 and Illinois on the road on Jan. 16.
In head coach Suzy Merchant's tenure, when two numbers on the scoreboard were achieved it typically has been a sign of a MSU win. Overall, MSU has scored at least 70 points nine times overall this season. MSU has won 116 of its last 126 games when scoring at least 70 points, and MSU is 133-17 under head coach Suzy Merchant when hanging at least 70 points on the scoreboard. This year, MSU is 10-0 when scoring at least 70.
AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS
Under Coach Merchant, Michigan State is 28-48 against ranked teams, including 18-14 at home, 6-19 on the road and 4-15 on a neutral court. As a ranked team against fellow ranked team, MSU is 15-22 versus ranked teams. This season, MSU is 1-2 against ranked teams with a loss to No. 1 UConn, 96-62 and a defeat against Notre Dame, 90-59. MSU defeated No. 22 South Florida, 83-73, on Dec. 21.
PK80 INVITATIONAL RECAP
Michigan State celebrated Thanksgiving weekend at the PK80 Invitational in honor of Phil Knight's 80th birthday. The Spartans attended a Nike event before watching the MSU men's team take on DePaul on Thanksgiving day. Michigan State fell to No. 1 UConn, 96-62, on Saturday, Nov. 25 in Eugene at Matthew Knight Arena. In the other game, Oregon defeated Oklahoma.
AGEE EARNS PRESEASON HONOR
The Big Ten Conference released the Preseason Coaches and Media Polls, in addition to the 10-member preseason All-Big Ten team on Monday. Michigan State redshirt-senior guard Branndais Agee was named to the Preseason All-Big Ten team by the coaches. Reigning Big Ten co-champion Ohio State, which was the No. 1 pick in both the coaches and the media poll. Ohio State's Kelsey Mitchell was named Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year in both polls.
MEET THE 2018-19 SIGNEES
Michigan State women's basketball head coach Suzy Merchant announced the signing of three National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, including Nia Clouden (Owing Mills, Maryland/St. Frances), Tory Ozment (Buford, Georgia/Buford) and Kayla Belles (Ithaca, Michigan/Ithaca).
Clouden is a 5-8 point guard who plays for head coach Jerome Shelton at St. Frances Academy. She is currently ranked No. 43 overall and No. 13 at her position by ESPN HoopGurlz. Last March, Clouden was named Maryland Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year, becoming the third Baltimore-area player to win the award in 11 years. She was also the USA Today Maryland Player of the Year last season. She is a two-time captain, who averaged 14.2 points and 4.7 assists per game as a junior. Last season, the Panthers captured their second-straight IAAM Championship. St. Frances also advanced to the semifinals of the Dick's Sporting Goods High School Nationals, falling in overtime. Clouden has also earned first-team Baltimore Sun honor in both 2016 and 2017.
Ozment is a 6-1 guard/forward who plays for head coach Gene Durden at Buford High School. Durden has captured five state championships during time at Buford. She is currently ranked No. 14 at her position by ESPN HoopGurlz. Last season, Ozment was named the AAAAA State Player of the Year as well as being named to the Georgia Athletic Coaches Associations All-State squad. Ozment earned Atlanta Tipoff Club and Atlanta Journal Constitution All-Metro team. Last season, she averaged 13.4 points and 3.8 assists per game, leading Buford on a run to the Class AAAAA State Championship. As a sophomore, she guided Buford to the AAAA Final Four, averaging 11.1 points and 3.5 assists per game.
Belles is a 6-3 forward who plays for head coach Ty Warczinksy at Ithaca High School. As a junior, Belles averaged 19.4 points, 12.2 rebounds, 3.4 blocked shots and 2.6 steals per game, earning Associated Press Class B all-state honors. She led the Yellowjackets to three-straight Tri-Valley Conference West Division titles, which included a run to the Class C Final Four during her sophomore campaign. She garnered first-team all-state honors three-straight seasons, averaging a double-double the last two seasons. She is a multi-sport athlete, who earned all-state honors in both basketball and volleyball. Belles will miss her senior year of high school after tearing her ACL over the summer.
BIG TEN/ACC CHALLENGE
Michigan State played in the 11th annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge, falling to Miami, 67-57. The ACC captured this year's Challenge title by a 10-4 count. Last season, Maryland, Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State and Purdue registered wins for the Big Ten. Michigan State lost to Syracuse in the Carrier Dome last season, 75-64. Overall, MSU is 5-6 in the Challenge.
B1G/ACC Challenge History
2017 - Miami 67, MSU 57
2016 - Syracuse 75, MSU 64
2015 - Louisville 85, MSU 78
2014 - MSU 79, Georgia Tech 73 (OT)
2013 - Florida State 60, MSU 58
2012 - MSU 68, N.C. State 51
2011 - Miami 76, MSU 60
2010 - MSU 72, Florida State 64
2009 - MSU 72, North Carolina 66
2008 - Georgia Tech 57, MSU 50
2007 - MSU 68, Clemson 51
Bold = home games